Free Okinawan dance group performance is tonight

Okinawan folk dance, drumming and a shaggy dragon will all be performing for free at 7 p.m. today at Southwestern Illinois College in Belleville.

St. Louis Okinawa Kenjinkai and its Eisa group, Luck, were on campus performng at noon Tuesday and will perform again at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Main Varsity Gym of the campus at 2500 Carlyle Ave. in Belleville. The performance is free and open to the public.

Eisa is a form of Okinawan folk dance, usually performed by young people from the local villages during a festival to honor ancestors. The St. Louis group regularly performs during the Japanese Festival at the Missouri Botanical Gardens. They will perform all three days this year.

Taiko drums and a dragon dance are part of the performance, with the shaggy dragon apparently sharing some of Fredbird’s moves.